The West Bengal government is likely to approach the Supreme Court (SC) against the union home ministry’s decision to call three IPS officers belonging to the state cadre, on central deputation, while also finalising their new postings against existing vacancies in Central police organisations.
A final decision, sources said, will be taken after a virtual meeting is held between the MHA and the state government on Friday evening over the law and order situation in the state.
The MHA had on Thursday reaffirmed its decision to call the three officers - Rajeev Mishra (ADG, South Bengal); Bhola Nath Pandey (SP, Diamond Harbour) and Praveen Kumar Tripathi (DIG, Presidency Range) - and rejected the state government’s decision not to spare them for central deputation.
The home ministry has already issued transfer letters to the three officers. who were directly handling security of BJP president JP Nadda's when his convoy was attacked in West Bengal last week. The three were also sent separate letters asking them to join their Central postings at the earliest.
Rajeev Mishra has been posted to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) as Inspector General, Bholanath Pandey to Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), and Praveen Tripathi to Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
The central government’s move had led chief minister Mamata Banerjee to vent her ire on social media against the "deliberate attempt to encroach upon state’s jurisdiction and demoralize the serving officers in West Bengal". She said this step, particularly before the elections is “against the basic tenets of the federal structure. It's unconstitutional & completely unacceptable!”
Denouncing the MHA’s order, Banerjee tweeted, “GoI’s order of central deputation for the 3 serving IPS officers of West Bengal despite the State’s objection is a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954. We wouldn’t allow this brazen attempt by the Centre to control the State machinery by proxy! West Bengal is not going to cow-down in front of expansionist & undemocratic forces,” she said.
The standoff between the state and the Centre over IPS deputation started on December 11 when MHA sent a letter to the West Bengal government mentioning that they want three IPS officers on Central deputation.
While Banerjee railed against the order, sources in the home ministry have insisted that Rule 6(1) of IPS cadre rules clearly establishes the Centre's precedence in matters relating to Central deputation of All India Services (AIS) officers belonging to various state cadres.
The home ministry’s move had come after a convoy of BJP leaders including Nadda, Mukul Roy, Dilip Ghosh, Kailash Vijayvargiya was attacked with stones, bricks and glass bottles at Sirakol area in South 24-Parganas district on December 10. The BJP had alleged that the attackers were TMC supporters.
Nadda’s vehicle was bullet proof and he didn’t suffer any injuries. Later all the leaders reached the public rally venue amid tight security.
On the day of the convoy attack incident, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee smelled conspiracy and ordered a probe to find more details about the attack on BJP leader’s convoy at Sirakol in South 24-Parganas.
Earlier, the MHA had summoned the state chief secretary and DGP to Delhi to discuss law and order situation, but the officers had turned down the summons on the directions of the state.